Starbucks Bets on Lingering Cold Drink Trend

Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso | Image by Starbucks

Starbucks recently rolled out its fall lineup, and it is chock full of cold beverage options, indicating the company could be counting on customers’ desire for iced drinks to outlast summer.

The limited-time fall menu released on August 23 includes five seasonal drinks, three of which are served cold.

The “Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso” and “Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte” join previously seen favorites like the pumpkin cream cold brew, the pumpkin spice latte, and the apple crisp oatmilk macchiato.

Only the last two beverages are served hot by default, meaning that Starbucks is expecting the demand for cold beverages — which has exploded in the past few years to represent 75% of sales — to continue.

“Cold is absolutely a key growth engine for us,” explained Thomas Prather, Starbucks’ vice president of brand and product marketing, according to Bloomberg. “It is just about following the customer.”

The coffeehouse chain has made significant strides to freshen up its cold beverage offerings.

Last year, it revealed its proprietary “Siren System,” which streamlines the provision of both hot and cold customized drinks.

As previously covered by The Dallas Express, Starbucks has also been testing a new kind of ice that is compressed into a pellet. This “nugget” ice is said to be soft and chewy, bringing a texture that the company claims preserves the flavors of the drink better than conventional ice.

Special Follett-made nugget ice machines will be rolled out nationwide over the next few years.

While late August might seem a bit early to be talking about fall, pumpkin spice season also kicked off around this time last year, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Krispy Kreme, 7-Eleven, and other companies released their limited-time seasonal items a month early and appear to have done so again this year.

Krispy Kreme is offering a pumpkin spice variety of beverages and donuts — including a new pumpkin spice cheesecake swirl donut and pumpkin spice maple pecan donut — until October 8.

Many chains have hopped on the pumpkin spice bandwagon, reeling in significant profits. However, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the drink that started it all: Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte.

Last year, a survey conducted by industry researcher Technomic found that 70% of respondents said they were likely to increase their visits to Starbucks for the pumpkin spice latte, according to Bloomberg.

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